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SOCIAL    AND    POLITICAL    LIFE           187
primitive simplicity. In this atmosphere emerged favour, and in this atmosphere emerged that most beautiful of ancient Chinese characteristics, gratitude, the counterpart of favour. Of this gratitude, the common people of China, especially the agricultural population, have still a large "bellyful.31 A farmer who has been recipient of an act of favour remembers it for life and will probably worship you for life in the form of an inscribed wooden tablet in his private household, or serve you loyally "through fire and water." True, the people are left without constitutional protection at the mercy of the district magistrate. But if the magistrate is kind, kindness is all the more keenly appreciated because it is something gratuitous. There have been thousands of cases in which the village people surrounded the departing magistrate's sedan-chair, kneeling on the ground with tears of gratitude in their eyes. This is the best demonstration of Chinese gratitude, and of Chinese official favour. For the people know it as favour and not as justice.
In such an atmosphere originated favour, which came from a personal relationship between the man in power and the man in need of protection. It can, however, take the place of justice, and it often does so. When a Chinese is arrested, perhaps wrongly, the natural tendency of his relatives is not to seek legal protection and fight it out in a law court, but to find someone who knows the magistrate personally and intercede for his "favour." With the high regard for personal relationships and the importance attached to "face" in China, the man who intercedes is always successful if his "face" is "big" enough* It is always easy, and infinitely less costly than a protracted lawsuit. In this way, a social inequality arises between the powerful, the rich and the well-connected, and the poor who are not so fortunately circumstanced.
Some years ago there occurred in Anhui the arrest and imprisonment of two college professors for the ludicrously insignificant offence of some incautious remarks, and the relatives had no better way than to go to the provincial capital and plead with the military chief of the province for "favour." On the other hand, certain young men. in the same province, connected with a powerful political party, were arrested in